Poems, prose, and other strangeness

NaPo 19. 2016

Here is her face again. She is shining.
Her bumps make you
forget where you were sitting
and despite the taste
there is a bug screaming in your tea.

Don’t fall
for her teeth. Don’t
Exalt her cleanliness.
This step is not a start again.
Her tongue is glass, her smile
blown in another’s furnace. The skin on her knees have known nothing
There are no paths,
Only pits, clear floors that break.


Find a poem in this group written by anyone else.
Rewrite it in half the length. Remember to tag them and link the original piece.
#bonus1 – Delete all their adverbs.
#bonus2 – Delete all their adjectives.
#bonus3 – Replace all their nouns with better ones (except pronouns like I, you, me, we, us, etc).’

NaPo 18. 2016

Dispire (n.) /dɪˈspaɪɚ/
A feeling of simultaneous envy and sadness when a beloved activity is done better by another

His words are fire etched in stone
Aglow with every line
My words are stony ashen embers
Nigh-coherent signs

Her words are grand majestic beasts
You’ll quake when they appear
Mine are meagre eager creatures
Quivering with fear

Her words are joyous jubilation
Filled with raucous glee
His are feverous moonlight dancing
Mine are just ‘happy’

Their words are oceans filled with tears
Horses drowned in mire
They redefine the word ‘despair’
And I am mere dispire


‘Play dictionary. Write a poem that seeks to define or give meaning to one of the following words: ARBORESCENCE, DENOUEMENT, EPOCH, HARBINGER, SUPINE. Your chosen word should be the poem’s title.
SUPER MARIO MAKER BONUS: Invent your own word instead, in any language of your choosing. Tell us what it means.’

NaPo 17. 2016

My travellers are wandering
their way across the glass
Their cool is in the salty taste
of breeze beyond the pane
The path they trace is as the sound
of smoothened bass from brass
My sight is in the accident
that turned it into pain.


‘Write a poem describing the texture or feel of something without explicitly invoking the sense of touch. Rely upon your other four senses instead: sight, sound, taste, and smell.
CHALLENGE #1: There are no people in this poem.
CHALLENGE #2: If there has to be somebody, this person is not your romantic or sexual partner—current, previous, or imaginary.’

NaPo 16. 2016

Mount Asahidake.jpg

The frost was all upon the leaves
those fallen on the floor
The cold had covered up the bark
and winter’s dress they wore
As I lay there witnessing
the shade of white of sky
I heard the quiet song they sing
without a human eye


‘Show us a photograph you have taken. Tell us what is happening. Or better yet—tell us something about your photograph that we can never know, simply by looking. Tell us in the form of an accompanying poem, in which text and image belong side by side, and inform one another’s reading.’

NaPo 15. 2016

Recently, I came across a young man working on a piece of poetry inside an SBS bus

He sat forward with his smartphone in his hands, perhaps to facilitate the flow of his lines

The thoughts running through his head must have been dangerous

I suggested to the man that it could be dangerously eye-opening to write poetry inside the confines of a static city-state. He replied that he had been writing while in this country for a long time and returned to his task. There were commuters seated on both sides of him.

While the bus was relatively empty during the off-peak hours, writing poetry is no a safe activity to pursue inside a country that is focusing on efficiency.

At times, the job market will lurch during economic recessions or expansion. If the man is posting poetry in a cultural movement and is caught unexpectedly by a sudden economic downturn, an involuntary poetic action might cause idle ideas to enter the minds of fellow countrymen browsing social media.

There will be very serious consequences if people spend too much time on poetry, or other people who could not turn away from their screens in time. How can the thinking commuter seek recourse?

If the SBS’s regulations do not permit writing poetry inside buses, what is the appropriate action that a concerned citizen can take in such a situation?

By the way, what circumstances warrant blocking a Facebook group?

Shameless parody of my favourite ST letter.


‘Write a poem in the form of a letter about your friend / neighbour / relative, addressed to any recipient of your choosing, disclosed or undisclosed, specific or non-specific. Do include at least two lines of dialogue.’

NaPo 14. 2016

– and we are in the middle of it again and our words are kitchen window glass panes pre-shattered because we left the gas on so we cut ourselves more on preparation than impact and we are angry silence continued but we’ve spent more time shouting than listening anyway so we are beast born better throat than eardrum and we are darkness upon the globe and painted purple water made of two rice bowls equally pessimistic and without point so the tassels have nothing to stick onto and consider how we are both rubber and both glue so slap against the rough until we’ve worn it down again and we have gone till before Plato told us about Zeus’s bolts, four armed four legged and two faced beast, and we’re trying to catch the lightning in a spell by taking Rumpelstilskin’s lesson as law so two faces shout our names back and forth while stamping the earth till we’re purple but the names are too loud and the lists are too long and the world is too small so they just loop around in a closed system hemmed in by broken promises like nested branches –


‘Write a poem in the first person plural, i.e. “we”, with a minimum word count of 70. Contain this poem to a single, unbroken stanza with no line breaks, using at least one of the following words: LOOP, PURPLE, GLOBE, TASSEL, STAMPING.
CHALLENGE: Use all five words.’

NaPo 13. 2016

when did he go
was it peaceful
was he in pain
isn’t decay just recycling
isn’t the transformation from bottle to pen
from cardboard to paper
from husk of man to mush, to fungus, to the stomach of maggots
and vultures and the moss on the rocks and the wood of the trees
the same
to earth and the kingdom beneath it,
isn’t it all the same
can’t you see how a body defragmented
has enough ingredients for a deer
two saplings, twelve butterflies, and twenty-seven handfuls of seed
haven’t we lived forever – starstuff since the violent birth of the universe
can you see the path of excited photons
shot off from distant explosions
journeymen travellers for civilisation’s lifetime
landing through the lens of a man and his telescope
can you see all the ones already buried and decayed
their pieces in each of us
do you wonder how many people you have been before
how many seagulls chirping on the shore
how many lionesses surveying her domain
how many wave floaters
how many whales who have touched the ocean floor
as you look at the body beneath you, can’t you see
his mother’s tears were once snowflakes over africa
his brother’s sighs passed through the lungs of mammoths
as you kiss your fingertips
and press them against the glass
can’t you see how one day
he will be another
can you do me a favour
when I die, will you tell my mother
to plant a seed in my chest
bury me on a hill, facing the sea
will you tell those that come after
to sit in my shade
and breathe deep. my breath will be theirs.
can you see, looking at him
that reincarnation is not magic or mysticism
it is molecules in motion.


‘Write a poem in the style of a Q&A. CHALLENGE / BONUS: Your poem consists entirely of questions, or answers.’

NaPo 12. 2016

i don’t know. i am
my cracks and gold, kintsugi
i Jehovah’s child
and i do because i must
because i am what i am


‘One way to take stock of our journey is to write an ARTIST STATEMENT.
If you could articulate your aesthetic or these creative impulses, what would you say?
How would you define this part of yourself that desires to write?
Say it in a POEM.’

NaPo 11. 2016

you are thin guy, skin guy
all bones and hard places. it’s funny
you’re supposed to be skinny
but you don’t have enough
can’t get tattoos on your arms for lack of canvas
or is that not humerus enough
wire mesh skeleton at 9 you made a model
‘The Visible Man’, a body sans skin, sans muscle
lidless eyes staring into space
that night you counted your ribs with your shirt off
using just your eyes. at 14, while changing in class
someone said your waist dipped sideways
the way he wished his girlfriend’s did.
everyone laughed. you’ve always been good at covering cuts
plastering a smile wasn’t hard
at least they never mentioned your skin
when they do, tell them the truth
that you were born porcelain, full
alabaster, melted sand. then someone
slipped and you cracked
mr. reptile, with the scales
mr. lizard, with the cracks
but screw ’em, thin boy
treat your body like the colouring books
it’s never been about keeping in the lines.


‘1. Take off your clothes (kidding).
2. Stand in front of a full-length mirror (kidding).
3. Take a selfie (kidding).
4. Dump your phone into the toilet (kidding).
5. Put your clothes back on.
6. Write a poem about the kinds of bodies you like and dislike.Bonus Challenge A: Make a statement about body image.
Bonus Challenge B: Use irony.
Bonus Challenge C: Swap one or more pronouns (“I” to “you”, “she” to “he”, etc).’

NaPo 10. 2016

“Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he’s sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there’s the trick!”
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

I lied. Hospitals are only quiet when the sedatives kick in
Electronic pretzel bed and seatbelts
to keep you on your back, bed’s trap bedstrap
I wonder how long it takes for young doctors
to start seeing people as bags of gore,
bags of blood, too much blood
bags of muscle, too much muscle for that much exposed bone

I was born with broken skin, and for all the time
and moisturiser in the world, it’s just made the cracks fade more
in the moonlight. My seams still bristle with cold winds
and when the sight of a pale body
in a hospital bed stops striking you with wrongness
the cracks of my eyes start leaking
when an austere skeleton in baby blue hospital gown
stops being wrong, when drops of blood on marble floors
or a man drowning on dry land stop making you remember dates
or buying flowers

Novocaine is meant for external use only –
I think

I lied. She’s fine.
But the Spectre has a way of making you remember
making you connect,
making you fear


‘1. Write a journal entry of at least 100 words.2. Make sure all the details are true.
3. Assign line breaks, so the text reads like free verse.
4. Insert at least FIVE details that are untrue or imagined.
5. Feel the thin line that exists between truth and fiction.
6. Title this “The Prayer Poem”.
Bonus Challenge: Include an epigraph.’